The City of Auburn is facing at least $34,125 in legal fees following a failed ballot measure the city council put on the ballot this June. The proposal, Measure A, would have changed Auburn from a general law city to a charter city.

The conflict arose when the city objected to the wording of the printed argument against the initiative. The City Clerk, Joe Labrie, then authorized and filed a lawsuit in March opposing the language, and asking a Placer County Superior Court judge to find that the statements made in the ballot argument and rebuttal against Measure A false and misleading.

Judge Colleen M. Nichols ruled in April  that the authors of the ballot argument and rebuttal against Measure A did not need to change their ballot argument or rebuttal. The opponents then filed a countersuit against the city seeking to recover the legal fees incurred during the lawsuit. They are asking  the judge to grant the fees  on the basis that they arose from their exercise of protected free speech and through defending a lawsuit which lacked merit.

The city has spent a total of at least $38,186.18 on legal fees related to the Measure A lawsuit, wholly apart from the amount it is now being sued for.

Voters ultimately rejected Measure A on the June 5 election.